In rather epic chocolate news, the Great Ocean Road has scored a 15-acre chocolate and ice cream wonderland. As if you needed another reason to take a holiday, the Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery is located in Bellbrae, just next to Torquay (which is, just FYI, just over an hour from Melbourne).
The chocolaterie is spearheaded by Leeanne and Ian Neeland, who also own the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie — that is, the guys who throw those epic hot chocolate, ice cream and rocky road festivals each year. The new coastal venue features a showroom filled with thousands of chocolates (including a cabinet filled with 7000 truffles) and free chocolate and ice cream tastings. An international team of six chocolatiers are on board to perform demonstrations throughout the day as they craft different chocolates and churn seasonal ice cream and sorbet. There's also be an on-site café that'll serve up grub made with produce from the grounds. So it's pretty much an adult version of Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory (but you're less like to be carried away by Oompa Loompas here).
And after you've gorged to satiation in the showroom (and maybe have a bit of a sugar buzz on), you can take a wander through the surrounds — 15 acres of lush native garden and orchards. There's even a lavender maze to get lost in.
Unsurprisingly, this whole free-tastings-and-abundant-nature formula is one that works, as the Neelands discovered when they opened their Yarra Valley venue in 2012. So if you, like us, are the type of person who makes all your life decisions based on chocolate, you might want to go book some time off work and check the air pressure in your tyres so that, come the weekend, you'll be running through a lavender maze covered in chocolate and blissing out.
The Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery is now open at 1200 Great Ocean Road, Bellbrae. For more info, visit gorci.com.au.